Ticks On Cats

Ticks On Cats

Cats are generally clean animals that keep themselves well-groomed at all times. However, because they like to explore the world around them, they can easily pick-up ticks during their travels.

Ticks are common in both grassland and woodland areas and are usually most prevalent during spring, summer, and autumn. If you’re a cat owner, here’s what you need to know about ticks, how to identify them, and what you can do to remove them from your cat.

What are ticks?

In a nutshell, ticks are parasites. They are arachnids and from the same family as spiders. When you see a tick up-close, you’ll notice they have a spider-like appearance. Ticks are around three to five millimetres long and survive by feeding off the blood of animals.

Ticks can’t jump or fly. They typically lie in wait for a passing host (such as a cat), clinging onto a blade of grass or a leaf, for example. In such a position, ticks keep one pair of their legs outstretched waiting in anticipation for a host to pass them.

When ticks manage to grab onto a passing cat, they bite beneath the cat’s skin and suck its blood. Despite their small size, ticks can swell up to the size of a pea as they engorge on their host.

What does a tick look like?

So far, you know about ticks and what they do. But what does a tick look like on a cat? Ticks have eight legs and are around three to five millimetres long. They can be brown, red, black, or a tanned colour in appearance.

Ticks have pear-shaped bodies with a beak-life structure at the front containing their mouthparts. Ticks must get dealt with soon after identification because they can pass diseases onto animals, such as your cat.

How can my cat catch ticks?

There are several ways that your pet cat could catch ticks during their travels. You might assume that the most likely cause is brushing against grass or plants as they wander in and out of gardens.

The truth is cats are more likely to catch ticks from other animals. Believe it or not, cats will interact with a plethora of other animals outdoors. And they will, of course, do the same indoors if you have other pets besides your cat.

Your cat will undoubtedly mark your garden area as their territory. It’s important not to leave food out for wild animals to consume. That could increase the likelihood of interaction between your cat and those animals.

Ticks on cats’; the symptoms

How can you tell if your cat has one or more ticks feeding off them? Unlike fleas, ticks are very easy to spot with the naked eye. That’s because they are large enough to notice, even if your cat has dark colourings.

The areas of a cat’s body where ticks are most likely to be found are around the neck and head. Pet owners often see ticks on cats’ ears as well. If you do find a tick on your cat, you should first check the rest of your cat’s body in case there are other ticks on them as well.

You can easily do that by parting your cat’s fur and running your fingers on their skin. You’ll soon feel - and see - whether there are any other ticks attached to your cat.

The dangers of ticks on cats

Ticks can potentially be a dangerous issue for cats. That’s because they can carry diseases that spread to their hosts, such as ‘Q’ fever and ehrlichiosis. When you spot ticks on your cat, you must remove them as quickly as possible.

If your cat shows symptoms such as high fever, anorexia, or even seizures, you should take your feline friend to the vet urgently.

How to remove a tick from a cat

Care should be exercised when attempting to remove a tick from your cat. If done incorrectly, the tick’s head or mouthparts could end up staying embedded in your cat. And if that happens, it could cause an infection or inflammation around that area.

The best thing to do is to use a special tick removal tool. At Time For Paws, we sell a selection of tick removal tools such as Johnsons Tick Remover and the O’Tom Tick Twister. Those tools don’t compress a tick’s abdomen, enabling you to remove them whole.

When considering how to get rid of ticks on cats, pet owners often combine physical removal of ticks with other treatments such as Frontline Spot On for Cats. Such treatments will kill ticks within 48 hours of application.

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